“Naturally I’m delighted we’ve won the game.”
Those are the words of Martin O’Neill following Ireland’s 2-1 friendly win over the USA in the Aviva. There were plenty of positives to take from the performance which included debuts for Darragh Lenihan and Graham Burke and a man of the match performance for Declan Rice.
Listen to the interview below;
A big positive to take from the display was young Declan Rice winning his third cap. The 19 year old West Ham defender is England born and has yet to play a competitive match for the boys in green leading to speculation on his future. West Ham co-owner David Gold added fuel to the fire suggesting he will be a future England star. After the game Rice played down the speculation.
“It’s the question that keeps being asked at the moment, I’m just focused on playing and enjoying my football that’s the main thing.”
“He’s (Gold) just come out and said that I’m not gonna take too much by it, he can say that, he’s entitled to his opinion.”
“I’m here tonight, I’m playing for Ireland I’ve just been focused on doing that.”
That is great news for Ireland fans and they will be praying for a competitive game to come around soon to put all this talk to bed. Another positive of the friendly win was a debut for Blackburn Rovers star Darragh Lenihan. The young man came on as a first half substitute for John O’Shea in what was his last game for Ireland.
“It was brilliant to get the win but to come on for such an Irish legend I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life.”
“I’ll always have that memory in my mind and it makes it even better to win.”
“It’s a huge honour to represent your country, hopefully I can get a few more caps and need to keep working hard and improving my game and fingers crossed you never know what can happen.”
A first senior cap and start for Shamrock Rovers man Graham Burke was followed with his first international goal. The Dubliner had this to say after the game.
“It hasn’t really sunk in but it’s a massive achievement to come from the League Of Ireland and go out and score a goal. It just goes to show if you put your head down and work hard Martin will pick you.”
“It’s been a brilliant night for me to start a senior game for the Republic Of Ireland, to top it off with a goal I can’t put into words how much it means to me.”
“That’s the moment you dream of, standing there in the line and the national anthem playing.”
Also on the show this morning was Brian O’Driscoll chatting to the recently retired Isa Nacewa. Stephen Bradley spoke following Shamrock Rovers most recent defeat. Irish amateur boxing star Thomas Carty looks ahead to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Megan Campbell spoke ahead of Ireland women’s huge World Cup qualifier against Norway.
Listen to the show in full below;
Now That’s What I Call Sport is live every Sunday morning from 9am.